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In the Ocean of the Dunya – Seeking Pearls or Drowning

“Satan rejoiced when Adam came out of Paradise, but he did not know that when a diver sinks into the sea, he collects pearls and then rises again.” (Imam ibn al-Qayyim)

Many scholars have commented on the story of Adam (peace be upon him) and Iblees and about how human beings were expelled from paradise.

There are multitudes of lessons that we can learn and should learn from that story. Today, we will focus on one specific saying of Imam Ibn al-Qayyim about the descent of mankind from Jannah to Dunya and how it affects us. It is essential in teaching us about life, our purpose and how we should view it to be. Imam ibn al-Qayyim said:

“Satan rejoiced when Adam came out of Paradise, but he did not know that when a diver sinks into the sea, he collects pearls and then rises again.”

Having Hope in Allah

It is a saying that is very deep and can be used to extract multiple lessons. The first that we can understand is that Satan is rejoiced in seeing us suffer. Human suffering, and in fact anything that takes us away from Allah is something that rejoices Satan. He will not stop until he can get as many of us into hell as possible. And part of doing that is to make us despair.

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The word Iblees comes from balasa which means to despair. And part of his greatest mission is to make people despair in the mercy of Allah, despair in the benevolence of Allah and His forgiveness.

Many people who openly commit sins know they are committing sins but refuse to change because they feel that there is no hope of paradise for them.

The first thing we learn from this saying of Imam Ibn al-Qayyim is that one of our greatest weapons in fighting against Satan and earning the pleasure of Allah is having hope in Allah.

Because if it was not for hope then for why do we pray? If it was not for hope then why do we care to obey? We hope in Allah and we hope from Him the best. And that is exactly why we will not let Satan make us lose hope and despair.

We often know of many things that are haram, but how many of us are aware that despairing in Allah’s mercy is haram?

The second part of the saying talks about a diver diving into the sea and comes back up with pearls. There are multiple lessons we can take from it, but we will talk about four important ones here.

Embrace Life Challenges

It is important to understand that diving is not meant to be easy. It is a difficult task and takes a lot of effort. It can be good when there are not many waves, while it can be difficult while there are more challenging waves.

Our worldly life, dunya, is like a dive. It is difficult and has difficulties during it. However, if utilized well, it can be of great use.

Cherish Your Life

We are often told that trillions of dollars of treasures lie below the ocean. While it is a difficult journey and difficulties that lie all through it, there are lots of treasures that we can enjoy in the sea. There are lots of beautiful things that Allah has taught us in the dunya and given us so as to enjoy and cherish.

Remember Your Purpose in Life

It is important that we remember our purpose. The diver is diving to seek out pearls, and that is important. He can enjoy the beautiful underwater life, the treasures that are around, the fish and so on, but that should not distract from the purpose.

We are allowed to enjoy our lives in the dunya as much as we want as long as we are doing it halal, but that should not distract us from the purpose of our lives- to earn Allah’s pleasure.

This Life is Not Eternal

No matter how expert the diver becomes in the sea, he is still in an unnatural environment. The sea is not the place for human beings, neither is the dunya.

Our lives are made for Jannah, and that is why despite all we may have in this life, there is always a longing for something more. It is an inbuilt system in our hearts. And that is why no matter how well we learn to live on earth, we do need to ensure that we are ready for landfall soon Insha’Allah. We do not want to drown; we want to survive.

Imam ash-Shafi would say that Surah Al-Asr was so comprehensive that if only it was revealed in the Quran, it would have been sufficient. And Surah Al-Asr says:

By time. Most certainly mankind is drowned in loss. Except those who believe, do good deeds, call one another to the truth and call one another to patience. (Quran 103:1-3)

Allah is saying that most of mankind are drowning in loss. And then He tells us of the exception. Many people will dive into the sea, but few will come up with the pearls. Do we want to be those who find the pearls?

May Allah make us among those that He says will be saved, those who believe, do good deeds, call one another to the truth and call one another to patience.


(From Discovering Islam’s archive)

About Raiiq Ridwan
Raiiq Ridwan is a Bangladeshi medical student at the University of Bristol, UK. He has a Bachelors In Arts in Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. He is founder of "The One Message". He’s certified life coach. He can write on topics related to Quran, dawah, depression, anxiety, achieving goals, productivity etc.